Salmonella enteritidis is now the most common Salmonella serovar in many countries. We have used cloned DNA probes to analyze genome interrelationships between strains chosen to represent the current S. enteritidis pandemic, and included designated type strains of the seven subspecies of Salmonella in order to compare the levels of discrimination of probes. DNA sequence divergence and rearrangements were analyzed in and around the rfa, fim and umuDC loci, and around insertion sites of the Salmonella-specific DNA insertion element, IS200.
The S. enteritidis isolates showed a high degree of genome homogeneity. Chromosomal genetic loci exhibited characteristic DNA sequence divergence between subspecies of Salmonella, but no intraserovar divergence or difference with the subspecies I type strain was observed for S. enteritidis. The locus umuDC was not found in S. enteritidis. S. enteritidis contains a conserved and a variable site of insertion of insertion sequence IS200 and the analysis of DNA rearrangements around the second of these sites showed that three distinct evolutionary lines or races exist within pandemic isolates associated with human gasteroenteritis. IS200 profiles of a range of U.K. isolates of the epidemic phage type PT4 showed that all belonged to a single clonal line.